Marijuana and Hip Hop Pt. 1

It’s been three days since marijuana’s pseudo-holiday. Called Kushmas by some, simpler, 4/20, though, there is some discussion of its origin. Hip hop’s association with weed is foggy too. True, Hip hop’s Bronx, Jamaican roots are signals that marijuana has always been there: at the house parties, street circles, writing, and the studio. How much has it influenced its artists, followers and collective?

Kid Cudi, Cleveland rapper with stoner charm, recently decided to cut ties with the drug. Saying:

“I dont smoke weed anymore. I’ll leave it to the kids. I’m 27 with a business to run and I need to be alert and focused with my mind strong. For those who still get it on, smoke one in my memory as your favorite lonely stoner.”

   – Kid Cudi on why he’s quitting (newsroom.mtv.com

His departure from all-that’s-green-and-stinky has left some of his fans confused, others angry. But, why? Does his dry spell take away from the magic he’s crafting? I mean, he is the Wizard. Though, I think it raises another question (besides whether his music suffers,) how important is marijuana to Hip hop?

In some ways it defines artists like Cudi, who some say, is in the middle of an identity crisis (performing “Marijuana” at Cannibus Cup.) Wiz Khalifa has grown a budding audience. Snoop Dogg is an immortal stoner rapper along with Bone Thugs. Kanye smokes, Jay-Z’s “Feelin it” breathes smoke amongst a piano bar melody, and DMX can’t stop getting in trouble for drugs and such. I could pull up fifty-thousand-trillion lyrics about marijuana, how it makes you fly, so high, in the sky. I could list a few hundred of the gems of the weed genre, but here are twenty.  

Snoop Doggy Dogg y’all, apparently, turbans are perfect for stashing.

My question is: How important is marijuana to the Hip hop culture? It’s everywhere. Why are artists coming out talking about weed in interviews, denouncing it publicly (as Cudi has done?) For some, is weed-association as much as show as a Coachella stage? Is the backlash against artists’ decisions to sober up akin to a break-up? Is there some pressure for Hip Hip artists to inherit the marijuana culture, considering, the norms and behaviors are entrenched and saturated? Is one culture a subset of the other, or have they bonded like Play Doh? What’s a myth and what’s real about both cultures working together?

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This story is purely to raise questions and illicit conversation about two cultures; discussing their integration, socialization. I’d love to hear what you think. @LopezSeth on Twitter 

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